Mayor’s Greening Initiative

Nearly 400 Volunteers and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss showed up to plant 300 trees in the West Grand neighborhood of Grand Rapids – a huge feat that could not have been done without our amazing volunteers! With our volunteers we added to the our community’s goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy goal of 40% that is – as outlined in the City’s community’s Green Grand Rapids plan.

The effort – in partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the City of Grand Rapids’ Forestry Division – brought together community and corporate volunteers to plant 300 trees and honor Anthony ‘Tony’ Torrone for his contributions to the neighborhood and the city.

Mayor Bliss was joined by First Ward City Commissioner Kurt Reppart in recognizing Torrone during a ceremony at Sullivan Field. A tribute tree and a plaque honoring Torrone as the 2018 Mayor’s Greening Initiative honoree will be planted at Lincoln Park.  “Tony is an amazing member of our community and a welcoming presence in this neighborhood,” Mayor Bliss said. “From holding the door every Sunday at the Servant’s Community Church, to helping elderly neighbors, Tony brightens the day of everyone he meets. His commitment to serving others is inspiring.”

“The Mayor’s Greening Initiative would not be possible without support from major sponsors, Verizon, ITC, and PLANt for the Future along with all of our generous sponsors,” Mayor Bliss said. “We are grateful for this support alongside the hard work of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, our City’s Forestry Division and the hundreds of volunteers.”    The other 2018 Mayor’s Greening Initiative Arbor Day tree planting sponsors were Verizon Wireless, ITC Holdings, PLANT for the Future, Bartlett Tree Experts, Boxed Water, Ferris Coffee & Nuts, , Bagel Beanery, Brewery Vivant, Spectrum Health Systems, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Amway, SMG, Pioneer Construction, Lack Industries, Macatawa Bank, Rockford Construction, OST, Grand Valley State University, DK Security & Investigations, Cascade Engineering, BISSELL Inc., Pioneer Construction, Stockbridge Business Association, and Kent Garden Club.

Following the ceremony, volunteers dug in, got dirty and planted 300 trees in the neighborhoods surrounding Sullivan Field. The tree planting took place the day after Arbor Day – a holiday in which people around the world are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks hosts Arbor Day activities each year, including tree plantings and sapling giveaways at local schools. In partnership with the Mayor’s Greening Initiative – Friends of Grand Rapids Parks held a tree giveaway Friday, April 27 at Sullivan Field. Bartlett Tree Experts donated 100  trees to be given away free starting at 6 p.m.. Recipients were asked to plant the trees on private property or in a community garden in the city of Grand Rapids.

“Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is honored to partner with Mayor Bliss and the community in these efforts to help grow our urban tree canopy,” Adams said. “Together, we can create a healthy and sustainable community for generations to come.”

The inaugural Mayor’s Greening Initiative in 2016 – launched to help the city reach its goal of a 40 percent tree canopy and honor special members of the community – planted more than 400 trees across the city through the efforts of volunteers and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

The City Commission adopted a Green Grand Rapids amendment to the City’s master plan in 2011 to activate the social, economic and environmental benefits of trees. Provisions to that amendment set a 40 percent tree canopy goal for the city. The current tree canopy cover is roughly 35  percent.

Grand Rapids was named a 2016 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. The city also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care.

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